July 2018 is a significant milestone in the history of the Thome Group because it was 55 years ago this month that the company was first incorporated in Singapore.
The expansion of the business from its humble beginnings as an agent, broker and charterer to mainly Norwegian ship owners, to an internationally respected third-party ship management company, has mirrored Singapore’s own growth as a renowned global maritime centre.
The family run business has been successfully managed since Mr. Olav Eek Thorstensen, the Group’s Executive Chairman, took over sole ownership in 1981.
“I am deeply proud and humbled to have been part of the Thome Group and it is with sincere thanks to the hard work and dedication of all our employees that we have successfully grown into one of the largest and most respected ship management and shipping services companies in the world,” said Mr. Thorstensen.
“Ship Management is a more demanding business than ever before with more and more regulations covering safety and the environment, coupled with a greater desire by our principals for improved cost efficiency. However, our teams have risen to, and exceeded, these challenges so we remain extremely competitive.”
The industry has also seen great leaps in technology over the years and Thome has always been at the forefront of these changes, recently opening an operations hub to enhance the quality of its ship management services and reaction times to emergency responses.
As Mr. Claes Eek Thorstensen, President and CCO, explained: “The Thome Group is proud to be recognised as a leader in innovation and the Operations Hub means that we now have an even closer control of our managed fleet. In times of emergency we can now react much more quickly and get faster and more accurate information about the situation in real time, allowing our crisis teams to make informed decisions on how to resolve any issues.”
Keeping Thome focused as a family business offering hands-on ship management services has been its strength. The Group’s determination to provide quality services to meet owners’ requirements has been essential in forging and preserving the good reputation it enjoys.
This comment was mirrored by Olav Nortun, Chief Executive Officer, who said: “Longevity in business is an indicator that we must be doing things right, and placing the needs of the customer at the heart of everything we do has been our mantra for the past 55 years. Yes, we believe passionately and wholeheartedly in the constant need to drive quality into all the services we provide, but we cannot do this without the dedication and hard work of the teams here at Thome. I would personally like to thank all our staff from the senior management and shore-based staff to our hard working sea-going teams for all the work they do and we all look forward to the next 55 years.”
Higher educated professionals and additional staff are required to manage today’s vessels, meaning higher operating costs for ship managers so to survive in the future the Group needs to continue improving its IT systems and outsourcing support services to locations with lower cost levels.
But ship management is constantly evolving and Thome, as a Group, must remain agile enough to adjust and adapt to compete at the highest level.
“Some values will always remain at the core of the Group’s philosophy – such as safe and cost-effective operations and regulatory compliance but there are other factors that will demand continual focus such as the digital transformation, data analytics and staff training. Here’s to the next 55 years in business,” Mr. Claes Eek Thorstensen concluded.